Where do my taxes go?

We pay a lot of taxes, and people should know where it’s going and what they are paying for.  This post will focus on local taxes, specifically those going to Yuba County, in addition to special assessments paid by residents in the Plumas Lake area.

Base Property Tax

Summary:  Yuba County get’s ~20% of the 1% base property tax as discretionary revenue.  In FY 21/22 that’s anticipated to be about $14.5 million dollars and the Board of Supervisors allocated over 70% of that to three public safety departments; sheriff, district attorney, and probation.

Details:  Every homeowner in California pays a 1% annual property tax based on the value of their property (as limited by Prop 13).  Out of that 1% collected, the County receives about 20% as discretionary revenue.  This means that if your house is valued at $300,000, you would pay $3000 in annual property tax and the County would receive $600 of that as discretionary revenue.  In the FY 21/22 budget, over 70% of the property tax received by the County was allocated to three public safety departments (sheriff, DA, and probation).  In the case of a $300k home, that would be $432 out of $600 going to public safety.   For a detailed description of how discretionary revenue is spent, you can view the FY21/22 budget.  Pay close attention to the line of revenue in each department’s budget summary labeled “Net County Cost”.  These are the discretionary funds (i.e. property and sales tax) that go to that department.  Every parcel is slightly different, but to see where the other 80% of your property taxes go, you can click here to view a pie chart produced by the Yuba County tax collector.

Plumas Lake Special Assessments

Summary:  Most homeowners in Yuba County have some kind of special assessments on their property tax bill in addition to the standard 1% property tax and they go to a variety of local agencies for a variety of different purposes. These are restricted funds and must go to the designated agency and spent on the specific purpose identified.  In Plumas Lake, total special assessments range from about $1400 to about $5000 depending on the parcel with about $180-$500 going to the County for various specific services.   The remaining money goes to other local school and special districts including Linda Fire, TRLIA, RD784, OPUD, PLESD & WUHSD (or MJUSD), and Yuba Community College District.

Details:

CSA 66 Assessment
This assessment is designated for services and maintenance in the Plumas Lake area.  It may vary based on something called zone of benefit (A/C/E), and ranges from ~$500 a year to ~$680 per year.   You can read more about CSA’s here.  A rough breakdown of the assessment is:

  • ~$70 to $85 goes to Yuba County to maintain roads (depending on zone of benefit) within Plumas Lake
  • ~$30 to $85 goes to Yuba County to operate street lights (depending on zone of benefit) in Plumas Lake
  • ~$60 to $135 goes to Yuba County for landscape maintenance (depending on zone of benefit)
  • ~$3 goes to Yuba County for OES
  • ~$8 goes to Yuba County to maintain sound walls
  • ~$25 goes to admin and contingency.
  • ~$105 goes to Linda Fire to provide fire/EMS services
  • ~$40 goes to RD784 to maintain drainage
  • ~$160 goes to OPUD to maintain parks

*Linda Fire, RD784, and OPUD are independent local government agencies governed by an elected board of directors. If you have questions or concerns, about how they are spending your CSA 66 tax dollars, please reach out to them directly.

TRLIA CFD 2006-1 & 2006-2
This assessment ranges from $0 to about $2600, depending on location, and goes to the Three Rivers Levee Improvement Authority (TRLIA) for paying back builder bonds that were sold to help finance the local share of $400+ million of levee upgrade work done to protect Plumas Lake and other areas of south Yuba County.  You can find everything you ever wanted to know about TRLIA CFD 2006-1 & 2006-2 here and for any questions, please contact TRLIA.  In 2021, TRLIA, Yuba Water Agency, and Yuba County completed an effort to reduce this special tax for homeonwers.  The reduction took affect for some tax payers on their 2021 tax bill, but others will see releive ofer the next few years.  When the reduction occurs depends on how “built-out” a neighborhood is and how quickly the rest of it develops.  For details about how the reduction is achieved and the impact to specific neighborhoods, you can watch the video of this community meeting.

RD784 (REC DIST 784) Assessment
The RD784 assessment ranges from ~$200 to ~$560 for single-family residential properties, depending on the size of the lot and home, and goes to RD784 which maintains over 30 miles of levees that protect Plumas Lake and other areas of south Yuba County.  In addition, RD784 operates and maintains an internal drainage system which includes 60 miles of canals and drainages ditches, 10 pump stations, and more than 55 acres of detention basins.  This assessment funds the operation and maintenance activities for both the levees and internal drainage system.  More information on the RD 784 O&M Assessment can be found, here.  For questions, reach out to RD784. (Note:  In July 2019 property owner approved consolidation of the previous TRLIA and RD784 assessments for maintenance and operations)

OPUD CFD 2002-1 Assessment
This assessment goes to OPUD and is used to pay back bonds for the creation of water/sewer infrastructure to serve Plumas Lake.   You can find everything you ever wanted to know about OPUD CFD 2002-1 here and for any questions, please contact OPUD. (Note: Prior to 2020 this assessment was $600 annually but was lowered to less than $300 after OPUD refinanced the bonds.  Since that time, OPUD continues to lower it annually as more people move to Plumas Lake and there are more houses to spread the debt service across).  In 2021, this assessment was $253.10.

OPUD CFD 2005-2 Park Assessment
This assessment goes to OPUD and ranges from $0-$90, depending on location, to help maintain Plumas Lake Parks.  You can find everything you ever wanted to know about OPUD CFD 2005-2 here and for any questions, please contact OPUD.

Plumas Lake Elementary CFD Assessment
This assessment is $320 to $400 and goes to Plumas Lake Elementary School District (PLESD), to pay a portion of the construction costs for Rio Del Oro, Cobblestone, and Riverside school campuses.  PLESD is a K-8 district that serves areas of Plumas Lake south of Algodon Rd.  Any future school site construction will require additional voter approved school bonds.  Questions about this assessment should be directed to PLESD.  (It should also be noted that residents who live north of Algodon Rd, are in the Marysville Joint Unified School District and will have school bonds for that district on their tax bill instead)

CSA 70 Assessment
This assessment is ~$185 and is designed to provide supplemental funding for law enforcement (sheriff, probation, district attorney) in Yuba County.  It’s paid by new developments County-wide and some residents in Plumas Lake also pay it, primarily in the newest developments east of Hwy 70 and in Arboga.

School Bonds

WUHSD GO BOND 2016
This assessment varies by assessed value of a property but is probably around $50 to $100 and goes to Wheatland Union High School.  It is a school bond approved by voters to enhance/update facilities at Wheatland Union High School.  Any future high school site construction will require additional voter approved school bonds.  For more info on the WUHSD bond click here and questions about this assessment should be directed to WUHSD.  (It should also be noted that residents who live north of Algodon Rd, are in the Marysville Joint Unified School District and will have school bonds for that district on their tax bill instead).

YCCD GO BOND
These assessments vary by assessed value of the property but probably total around $50 to $100 and go to the Yuba Community College District.  It is a school bond approved by voters to enhance/update facilities at Yuba Community College campuses.  Questions about this assessment should be directed to the Yuba Community College District and you can find information about some of the bonds here.

Wheatland Area Special Assessments

Home owners who live in the Wheatland Area (both within the city limits and outside the city), may have the following items on their tax bill, in addition to the WUHSD GO BOND 2016 and YCCD GO BOND school bonds described under the School Bonds section.

REC DIST 2103 DIR A
This assessment is paid to Reclamation District 2103 to help maintain levees that protect the Wheatland area.  It appears to be around $20 (at least on the few properties I looked up).

REC DIST 2103 BEAR RIVER LEVEE
This assessment is paid to Reclamation District 2103 to help maintain levees that protect the Wheatland area.  It appears to be around $70 (at least on the few properties I looked up).

WHEATLAND FIRE AUTHORITY
This assessment is paid to Wheatland Fire Authority to help cover the cost of fire protection services to the area served by Wheatland Fire Authority.  It appears to be around $70 (at least on the few properties I looked up).

WHTLD-PREMIER GROVE LANDSCP & LIGHTG DIST # 25-02 
This assessment appears to be paid by some homeowners in the Wheatland Park and Wheatland Ranch subdivisions and ranges from around $100 to $300.  Landcape and Lighting Districts can be used to pay for streetlights, parks, and landscaping.  You can call (800) 273-5167 for more info about this specific tax or reach out to the City of Wheatland.

CSA 14
This assessment is about $420 and is paid by some homeowners in the vacinity of Camp Far West Lake to pay to maintain roads within the boundry of the CSA.

Sales Tax

Summary:  Yuba County get’s 1% of the baseline 7.25% sales tax as discretionary revenue.   In FY 21/22 that’s anticipated to be about $4.9 million dollars.  In 2018, voters approved increasing the sales tax rate in unincorpoated Yuba County to 8.25% (Measure K).  This additional 1% is expected to generate $6 million dollars in FY 21/22 and must be spent on public safety and essentional services.

Details:  The State sets the base sales tax rate at 7.25% and below is a graph that shows the breakdown of that 7.25%.   Out of the 7.25% collected, 1% comes to the County as discretionary revenue, which the Board of Supervisors (BOS) has the ability to allocate. If you purchase a taxable item for $100, you will pay $7.25 in sales tax and the County will get $1 of that.   In the FY 21/22 budget, over 70% of the 1% sales tax received by the County was allocated to three public safety departments (sheriff, DA, and probation).   For a detailed description of how discretionary revenue (i.e. property and sales tax) is spent, you can view the FY21/22 budget.  Pay close attention to the line of revenue in each department’s budget summary labeled “Net County Cost”.  These are the discretionary funds that go to that department.

Note:  In 2018, voters approved raising the sales tax to 8.25% for 10 years. This additional 1% is expected to generate $6 million dollars in FY 21/22 and must be spent on public safety and essentional services as indicated in Meansure K itself.  As a general tax, this revenue is also discretionary and will by allocated by the Board of Supervisors as part of the annual budget process.  The high level breakdown of the FY 21/22 allocation is:  Fire Departments $1,200,000; Sheriff $2,556,000; Probation $648,000; District Attorney $396,000; and Other Public Safety + Essential Services $1,200,000.  To see the specifics of how this money will be allocated in FY 21/22, please watch this presentation and/or read this staff report.